East Harlem Education Center
New York, NY
The architectural team at Perkins Eastman turned to modular metal panels to provide versatile aesthetics to create the desired look for the East Harlem Education Center in New York. Because of their quick lead time, easy installation and cost efficiency, metal panels - supplied by CENTRIA - were the most logical choice to have the building ready to welcome eager students on time.
Providing the best services and resources money can buy has always been part of the mission for the East Harlem Tutorial Program.
The East Harlem Education Center was conceptualized to be the home of the East Harlem Tutorial Program - a program dedicated to furthering the educational welfare of Harlem’s citizens. With humble beginnings as a reading program based out of a living room in 1958, the EHTP has been serving members of the underprivileged Harlem community for over half a century. The program has garnered a reputation as a champion of education in a location that has traditionally been overlooked and underserved for much of its history. Designed to be a “beacon of blue” to its residents because of its iconic blue facade, it was always imperative that the building would stand as a symbol of hope for a bright future in the community.
CENTRIA's Intercept Entyre panels require little-to-no maintenance and feature well-ventilated wall cavities designed to prevent moisture from infiltrating the façade. This efficient design improves the longevity of the building by preventing mold from developing and compromising structural integrity. The horizontal joint design provides cavity venting for continuous pressure and temperature equalization at every panel reveal.
Even though performance features were important, the architects wanted to give a sense of familiarity to the new building. Due to the organization’s long legacy as a bastion of education in Harlem, the aesthetic of the building needed to tie in with the brand’s color scheme and blend with the surrounding community. The metal panels’ customizability allowed the architects to create an interesting geometric design that requires little-to-no maintenance.
“We did rigorous studies on how we wanted panelization to look,” said Nel Daws, Senior Associate at architectural firm Perkins Eastman. “The vertical panels gave it texture and prevented it from looking map-like.”
As an educational facility, the students were also strongly considered in the design of the building. Featuring a rooftop recreational area, the architect specified CENTRIA’s EcoScreen perforated metal screen walls to grant the building additional aesthetic value while keeping the students safe.
“It was exactly what we were looking for,” said Daws. “We wanted some visible transparency, but we wanted it to be safe for the kids.”
A Chicago Blue finish was chosen specifically to give the building its distinct personality, while delivering an additional protective layer against color fade and weather effects.
“We were trying to get something with a bit of reflectivity for a non-cloudy day to blend in with the sky a little more,” Daws said. “The Sundance Mica coating was definitely what we were looking for.”
Today, the building’s bright façade mirrors the bright future in store for students.